If you’re reading this, then, like me, you have been procrastinating on doing your Twitter Lists homework.
It’s not like there’s much to do. Anyone who has figured out Twitter’s web interface will quickly get the hang of making a list.
But because I’ve been tasked with integrating this feature with my workplace account, @spokesmanreview, I thought I’d read up a bit. I saved the best of what I found using Publish2 so that I could easily share the links in this post with the handy WordPress plugin.
My biggest question was about how a journalist could make better use of Lists. I hope you find these links helpful.
- Twitter Lists; Limitations, bugs, impact, and brilliance
scobleizer.posterous.com | October 18, 2009
- How Journalists Can Use Twitter Lists to Customize, Discover and Curate
Poynter Institute | October 29, 2009
- Twitter Lists: Frequently Asked Questions and Strategies
mashable.com | November 3, 2009
- 10 Ways You Can Use Twitter Lists
Mashable | November 4, 2009
Are you happy with the way your city’s daily newspaper presents news on the Web?
If not, I’ve got a hunch you might like it briefer and more current.
That’s the germ of an idea that’s sprouted in the past few days as I’ve stumbled upon (and sought out) what bloggers have to say about newspaper websites. Spoiler warning: It’s not all good. But there are a lot of good points.
First, we ought to be more direct on the Web. The Journalist Iconoclast is dead-on when he notes that the written report on many newspaper websites is often bloated and indirect.
This complaint is, I think often deserved, especially when you factor in some empirical evidence about how little of our stories site visitors actually read.
But while the era of shovelware is thankfully mostly over, some of its habits remain. My newspaper, for instance, republishes its entire daily report on the Web for the benefit of print subscribers. Paring these down would be pointless.
We are more active with breaking news, which is, by necessity, often much briefer and more direct. But sometimes this “breaking news” is a complete story slated for publication the next day. Should we be boiling these versions down? What about for special packages that run upwards of 40 column inches? How do we present this idea diplomatically to our writers?
(Pixar’s Brad Bird has some broad agreement-fostering suggestions, which I found via Teaching Online Journalism via Journerdism via GigaOM.)
Keeping news brief and direct could be easier if we think of the Web as the primary product – not in terms of revenue, of course, but order of publication. Mindy McAdams riffs on this theme, pointing out that some newspapers have taken this approach. The Spokesman-Review is among them, but we may only see three to four “Web first” stories on a given weekday. A lot of sports and weekend stories fall through the cracks because of staff limitations. In general, I imagine larger metro papers have an edge in this department.
Hey folks, I’m on the front lines in this battle to keep newspapers relevant and afloat. I’m in a position to try new things in terms of story presentation online — or at least run them up the flagpole — and I recognize that we need to keep refining our craft. If you’ve got a brilliant idea or even a simple gripe that could spark one, please jot it here for the love of the First Amendment and good of your favorite watchdogs and newshounds.
I spent last weekend in Nelson, B.C., a sweet little arts community tucked into the Kootenay Mountains. I took the photograph above (click to enlarge) outside the offices of the city’s newspaper, the Nelson Daily News. For a second I thought these men were about to take down the sign and that the paper had folded. This was not the case.
You’ll notice I didn’t link to Daily News’ website above. That’s because there isn’t one, at least as far as I could tell. I found a few sites out there that still link to www.nelsondailynews.com, but that goes nowhere.
As more people are turning to the Internet for news (at least in the U.S.), what does that mean for small towns like Nelson? Sure, there’s plenty of national and international news online. But when the hometown daily doesn’t have a Web presence, where do these Internet readers turn for local news?
Apparently places like ilovenelson.com, “Nelson’s Community Website.” It has news in the traditional sense, but it’s in the form of links to provincial and national sources. It has classifieds and an events calendar. The site also features several regular columns. I’m not sure that this works as a substitute for a local daily online news source, but there’s one thing this site has figured out: interactivity.
ilovenelson.com offers free membership to the community, enabling users to post to the classified ads, events. View your personal dashboard and keep track of all your posts and personal options.
I can only speculate about why the Daily News doesn’t have a website right now. But its disappearance hasn’t left a total void. Just another reminder of how newspapers large and small have to keep interactivity in mind as we look to serve those growing audiences.